Sunday, September 4, 2011

Basic Home First Aid

It is strange, the twists and turns that life throws your way. One
moment you are walking across the floor, and the next you are fighting
back the tears as you tend to an injury. At moments like this, your
first thought should never be, "Do I have the first aid supplies to deal
with this?"

Late in the afternoon on Saturday, I was working on sorting through some
boxes in my bedroom. The flooring is a very old hardwood that has small
little areas where the edge of the boards are starting to splinter. As
I turned to place something on the bed, my bare foot caught on one of
these splintered pieces and got embedded into my foot. The "splinter"
continued breaking from the board and ended up 4" long. The most narrow
part is what got caught in my foot and went bone deep, going into the
tissue just below my toes and nearly exiting out at the point where the
arch of my foot begins. I pulled out the splinter and found that 2
inches in length had been in my foot. Luckily, the entire thing came
out and nothing remained behind. It bled for nearly 15 minutes, even
with pressure being put on it. This was a good thing in that any
impurities were removed also. Once I got the bleeding stopped, I
cleaned it up and put a bandage over it. By bedtime that night, I could
barely walk on it and my foot was swollen. Thankfully, there is no
infection or redness. The pain only being from the injured tissue and

I tell you of this for a purpose. If such an injury should happen to
you or another in your home, would you know how to take care of it and
have the supplies to do so? Living in a rural setting, first aid
knowledge and supplies are as important as having food & water. If you
have children, the value of this information is even greater. In many
cases, homesteading/farming families live a long enough distance from
medical help that the trip could be life threatening. Could you manage
to aid someone even if while waiting until help arrived?

Think about the livestock you raise, the tools you use, and the general
daily life situations where an accident could happen. Something that is
not uncommon around here is to see a row of stacked firewood collapse.
It can be standing tall one day and a section laying in a mess on the
ground the next. What if you or a child were near that firewood when it
fell. What about serious burns around an old fashioned wood burning
cook stove? Where there is firewood, you often have ax, hatchets, or a
chainsaw. These accidents are more gruesome to deal with and much more
life threatening, but they can happen.

When we still had our sheep, the ram got territorial one day when they
had got loose and charged at me. He hit me many times from a flat out
run. Now, I am not a small woman, but he hit me hard enough to lift me
off my feet and have me land on my back a couple feet away. I was
knocked to the ground 3 times and hit in the hips, legs and lower back
several others before I was able to get in the back of our pickup truck
for safety. My body was bruised and battered by the end of it. When he
left the truck after a time, I ran to the house where our nearly 4 yr
old daughter was watching from the window. Thank heavens the ram chose
to come after me and not her! One hit alone could have killed a child
that young. The following summer, we sold the sheep. Situations like
this can happen easily when you have especially the larger breed
livestock. Are you prepared to handle such an incident?

It is easy to find good books on first aid at any bookstore. I would
highly recommend that you consider taking classes through the Red Cross
or another venue if you have never done so. Educate yourself as much as
possible. I have a large tackle box with several shelves with
individual compartments for various fishing gear. I cleaned it up and
am turning it into a well stocked first aid kit. Survival guides and
first aid books often have a shopping list of items to stick in your
first aid kit. The idea is to have it all together in one place so that
if there is a need, you can grab it quickly. Include a copy of a good
first aid manual in the kit to use as a reference. It may help to keep
an inventory of everything you plan to have in the kit, including
quantities of each item. Each time you go to the store buy a couple of
items to add to the kit. Even if money is tight, you will have your kit
stocked soon enough. On your inventory sheet, include expiration dates
of any medications, creams, salves, etc that you add to the kit. This
will help to remind you when to rotate and replace the item.

I am so grateful that both knew how to handle my foot injury and had the
supplies on hand to take care of it. There is still no sign of
infection, It is still swollen enough to make walking difficult and
painful, but it could have been so much worse. I am really proud of
Miss Abbie. She saw it happen and kept a clear head, following
instructions that I gave her even though the sight of the injury and
blood was upsetting to her. She never broke down and even cleaned up
the blood from the floor without being asked. Awesome for a 5 yr old!

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